things that make me happy blog
Three African-American Teenagers Arrested For Waiting While Black [TW: Racism, Ethnocentrism, White Privilege]
A police officer arrested three teens last week as they were standing outside a store in downtown Rochester, New York. Their crime: Waiting for a school bus.
The three boys — Raliek Redd, 16, Deaquon Carelock, 16, and Wan’Tauhjs Weathers, 17 — are star athletes at Edison Tech high school, and were waiting to be taken to a basketball game when they were spotted by an officer.
It seems the store adjacent to their pick-up spot was being monitored by police due to past complaints from the owner of teens loitering outside.
The officer asked the teens to disperse, but they explained that they were waiting to be picked up by a bus. The officer again asked the teens to disperse.
"We tried to tell them that we were waiting for the bus," Wan’Tauhjs told WHEC. “We weren’t catching a city bus, we were catching a yellow bus. He didn’t care. He arrested us anyways.”
The three were charged with with disorderly conduct and obstructing the sidewalk.
While they were being handcuffed, their coach, Jacob Scott, arrived at the scene and attempted to reason with the cop.
"He goes on to say, ‘If you don’t disperse, you’re going to get booked as well," Scott recalled. “I said, ‘Sir, I’m the adult. I’m their varsity basketball coach. How can you book me? What am I doing wrong? Matter of fact, what are these guys doing wrong?’”
A school board member has since come out in defense of the arrested teens, saying this is not a new phenomenon.
"I’m very concerned about a pattern of young people being abused by police authority," Rochester City School Board Member Mary Adams is quoted as saying. “To me, this seems like a really clear case, part of a pattern.”
The boys were scheduled to enter their plea before a judge last Friday, but their hearing has been postponed until December 11.
Umatilla Blockade to Halt Tar Sands Megaloads Continues Tonight
This morning, members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) stood before tribal leadership and their legal counsel at a Board of Trustees meeting to implore them to take immediate and decisive action in stopping shipping company Omega Morgan from transporting megaloads of equipment through their tribal homelands. The equipment is to be used in the expansion of Alberta tar sands, including supplying oil for Keystone XL and other pipelines.
Members of the Four Columbia River Treaty Tribes, joined by chapters of Rising Tide and 350.org, successfully stopped a megaload from passing through Umatilla ceded territory last night. Another blockade is planned for tonight.
Kayla Godowa, a Warm Springs Tribal member and one of the organizers of the blockade spoke with Last Real Indians. She listed a number of reasons why the tar sands megaloads should be halted. “There have been no government to government consultations [on the transport of megaloads] between the state of Oregon, Tribes, and the U.S. Department of Transportation, as required by law,” says Ms. Godowa. Furthermore, “the highway passes right through Umatilla sacred gathering grounds, and forest conservation lands that are set aside for salmon restoration purposes.”
Of last night’s protest, Kayla says, “It was a ceremonial blockade with services from the longhouse. Prayer songs were sung while taking direct action.”
Protestors blocked megaloads from passage by placing their bodies in the way. Two were arrested and were being arraigned at the time this article was being written.
Kayla says the group hopes the Tribes will be able to secure an injunction against megaloads, fearing they could become a “potential permanent corridor [for such activity] for the next 20 years.”
There is also worry about division being caused because big oil interests are “throwing money at Tribes.” “They’ve hired three Umatilla Tribal members,” Kayla reports.
Umatilla Tribal member and organizer Shana Radford shares Kayla’s concerns. “Local affects are the lack of consultation and recognition of our treaty inherent rights while also ignoring the environmental repercussions and impact on taxpayer dollars for all of Oregonians. The impacts on our fish, our game and our first foods are at stake. These loads are ridiculously large, and we are all affected by the impacts of the Canadian tar sands. We have a responsibility and obligation to protect the lands, our homelands and the future of our people. They will keep coming and they won’t stop unless we can come together in solidarity and demand that these destructive materials aren’t allowed on or through our homelands without our permission.”
Shana would like other tribes to follow suit, and join the Nez Perce, Umatilla and others in stopping the passage of these megaloads and making them “think twice about tromping through our occupied territory.”
Besides prayer, Shana hopes that anyone who cannot be at the blockade tonight will spread word of their plight via social media, thereby helping them to garner more support and put pressure on tribal leadership to act quickly.
Cathy Sampson-Kruse, a Umatilla Tribal member and great grandmother, was present at this morning’s Board of Trustees meeting. She and others asked Tribal leadership to take an active role in stopping the tar sands megaloads. “We need the Tribe’s voice there…we have a sacred and moral obligation to uphold treaty rights.” Cathy left the meeting hopeful that leadership will take action. She realizes this blockade could help other Indigenous peoples as well. “I don’t like what [tar sands development] is doing to our First Nations relatives,” Cathy says.
Sources have reported that megaloads will be escorted by police tonight, but the group still plans to do whatever they can to block transport through their Tribal homelands and expect a larger turnout tonight than last night.
Shipments are only allowed to leave from 8pm-6am with their permits,” Shana states. “We are seeking drummers, singers, spirituals leaders and others to join in prayer with us tonight.”
Shana concluded by telling Last Real Indians, “It’s an important part of our tribal history and it’s time to rise up and take action against corporations who do not respect our ways and way of life. We have an obligation to our future generations and to our ancestors to protect our land, our treaty and our first foods- our livelihood depends on it.”
An independent network of over 100 students occupied the headquarters of the University of London at Senate House, demanding that ”the University of London Union (ULU) remain in student hands – democratically run by students – and has its block grant returned, that all outsourced workers at the university are awarded a pension, that the ULU oppose the privatization of student loans, and that the financial statements of the University’s academic departments and non-academic services be published so that they can be scrutinized so that the University’s decisions can be properly held to account by the community.”
Here are two videos provided by The Guardian. One shows an officer punching a protester in the face during Wednesday’s demonstration. The other shows a cop trying to hit protesters (on the other side of a gate) with his baton.
As coverage for the protest decreases, the police brutality and suppression continues to increase. It’s up to the public to spread this info.
To kick off their commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the re-establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), revolutionary workers led by the Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions (RCTU) held a lightning rally along the worker and urban poor communities in Baclaran, Paranaque City this morning.
“With utmost joy, workers join the Filipino people in celebrating the 45th anniversary of the re-establishment their Party, the CPP. For 45 years, the CPP has victoriously led the Filipino workers and people in the struggle for freedom, democracy and social change against foreign and domestic exploitation,” stated Juan de Mayo, RCTU spokesperson.
As they celebrate the CPP’s anniversary, the revolutionary workers vowed to intensify their struggle against the US-Aquino regime which they say represents those who rule the country – the imperialists, comprador bourgeoisie and landlords.
“The US-Aquino regime is as rotten as the system it represents. It has exposed itself to be no different from previous puppet, corrupt and anti-people regimes. In Aquino’s three years in power, he has defended the crisis-wracked semi-colonial and semi-feudal system that has subjected Filipino workers and people to the worst forms of exploitation and oppression,” de Mayo said.
The RCTU warned that Aquino will face an upsurge of unionization by workers as well as workers’ strikes, protests and intensified armed resistance in his remaining years in power as the revolutionary forces persevere in advancing the national-democratic revolution.
“With worsening hunger and poverty inflicted by the US-Aquino regime, workers and the toiling masses of the Filipino people are as determined as ever to advance the revolution to a new and higher level. Aquino’s next years in power will be faced with an upsurge of workers’ revolutionary struggle against his anti-worker and anti-people regime,” de Mayo said.
Meanwhile, the RCTU encouraged fellow workers and urban poor to persevere in advancing the people’s democratic revolution by taking part in the armed struggle in the countryside and join the ranks of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“If history has taught us one thing, it is that only through armed revolution can we achieve victory over foreign domination and control. Only by taking up arms can we bring down despotic and oppressive regimes. That is why we call on all workers and our fellow toiling masses to take part in the armed struggle being waged by the NPA,” de Mayo said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines was re-established on December 26, 1968 and has since then been at the forefront of the Filipino people’s struggle for national freedom, democracy and socialism.
The Forgotten Palestinians, by Ilan Pappé, focuses on the Palestinians living in Israel, who are neither refugees, nor full-rights citizens of the state. Their situation is extremely delicate, as they have had to hold on to their Palestinian identity and nationalism, while struggling to obtain equal rights within the Jewish state that they are part of (it is an ongoing struggle, as they are still second-class citizens).
The book covers in great detail how the “1948 Palestinians” have fared under Israeli rule, from their early struggles for citizenship to long-running battles over land use and Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) representation. Using interview and archive material, Pappé exposes the subtle discrimination these Palestinians have endured, which ranges from education and housing provision to employment. And ultimately, he poses the question, to what extent it is possible to be a non-Jewish citizen of a Jewish state.
The title is a throwback to the fact that this group of people is always ignored during peace talks, as well as in general discussions on Palestine. They truly are the forgotten Palestinians and I believe it is essential to bring attention to them and their struggle, which Ilan Pappé does in a highly informative yet compassionate manner.
Seattle voters have elected a socialist to city council for the first time in modern history. Kshama Sawant, a member of the populist Occupy Seattle movement, ran on a platform of raising Washington State’s minimum wage to $15 and levying a “millionaire tax” to pay for mass transit and public education.
Sawant took 50.3 percent of the vote to incumbent Richard Conlin’s 49.4 percent. Even in this liberal city, Sawant’s win has surprised many here because Conlin was backed by the city’s political establishment.
While city council races are technically non-partisan, Sawant made sure people knew she was running as a socialist – a label that would be politically poisonous in many parts of the country.
Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP